New Delhi, Sept. 10: When the Prime Minister expressed his concern at the communal situation during an interaction with directors-general of police on Saturday, the message seems to have been meant only for the non-BJP states.
Only DGPs from states ruled by UPA allies — with the lone exception of Bihar — were invited, sources said. It was the home ministry and not the Prime Minister’s Office that selected the invitees, they said, and the invites were sent well in advance.
It could not be confirmed whether the Himachal Pradesh police chief was present, but none of his counterparts from the rest of the BJP-ruled states were. Nor did the DGPs of Punjab (Akali Dal) and Tamil Nadu (AIADMK) attend the interaction.
The meeting was held on the sidelines of the annual conference of directors-general and inspectors-general of police organised by the Intelligence Bureau, where all the DGPs had been invited. The police chiefs from the BJP states virtually sat idle during the time their colleagues met Manmohan Singh at the same venue.
At the interaction, CRPF director-general K. Vijay Kumar made a presentation on Maoist zones and the gaps that needed to be filled. But the DGPs of BJP-ruled Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh and Biju Janata Dal-ruled Odisha — all Maoist-hit states — were absent, sources said.
Singh had named Madhya Pradesh as one of five states showing signs of deterioration in the communal situation, but its DGP was absent.
BJP leaders were cautious in their reaction. “I can speak only after confirming that this happened,” spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.
The police chiefs of Samajwadi-ruled Uttar Pradesh, Congress-NCP-ruled Maharashtra and Congress-ruled Kerala too were absent: it could not be confirmed why.
Gujarat DGP Chitranjan Singh said he had not received any intimation about it. “But my batch-mates from (Congress-ruled) Rajasthan and (Trinamul Congress-ruled) West Bengal attended,” he said, apparently unaware that his exclusion was part of a pattern.
It may not be a coincidence that the DGP of Bihar, ruled by the Janata Dal (United) in coalition with the BJP, attended what was otherwise a non-NDA gathering. Relations between Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and the BJP have become a matter of speculation, especially since Nitish upped the ante against Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.
Most of the DGPs who attended the meeting were circumspect about revealing what happened there but confirmed that communal harmony was foremost on the Prime Minister’s mind. “The Prime Minister heard presentations from all the officers and later spoke on the communal situation and steps that need to be taken,” a DGP said.